Edinburgh International Film Festival diary: 19 August

Scotsman film critic Alistair Harkness highlights the launch of The Lynda Myles Project, an ongoing documentary collaboration celebrating the work of the estimable Scottish film producer, cinephile, author, educator and former EIFF director.

Reading Quentin Tarantino’s frustratingly sloppy book of film criticism, Cinema Speculation, last year I was struck by a couple of things. Firstly, he’s much better at his day job. Secondly, his avowed love of the 1970s is almost exclusively dude-centric. I don’t just mean in terms of the films he chose to cover (fair enough, I suppose, it’s his memoir and these are the films that were meaningful to him), but also in his blinkered appraisal of who actually laid the groundwork for our collective understanding of the New Hollywood renaissance.

Sure, he worships Pauline Kael, but when it comes to discussing the seminal, generation-coining book The Movie Brats, do you think he once mentions its Scottish co-author Lynda Myles? He does not. Her co-writer Michael Pye gets a shout-out, but not Myles, which is odd, demeaning and sadly all too typical.

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Myles is the firebrand cinephile, festival director, author, educator and BAFTA-winning producer (for The Commitments) who got her professional start at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in the 1970s after blasting the event in this very paper and being invited in to overhaul it. She went on to run it, becoming the first female artistic director of a film festival anywhere in the world, and brought Martin Scorsese (and many others) to the city.

As EIFF reckons with its own future then, it’s useful that it should be spotlighting Myles once more. Today sees the public launch of The Lynda Myles Project, an ongoing documentary collaboration by Susan Kemp, Mark Cousins and the archival activist organisation Invisible Women, in which Kemp, Cousins, members of Invisible Women, and Myles herself will be on hand to discuss her legacy and get into how Edinburgh’s decimated film culture might be rebuilt. It will be followed by a separate screening of Kemp’s work-in-progress doc The Lynda Myles Project: A Manifesto.

For tickets and more information on The Lynda Myles Project launch event and The Lynda Myles Project: A Manifesto visit: https://www.eif.co.uk/edinburgh-international-film-festival

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